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IndieGames.com is presented by the UBM TechWeb Game Network, which runs the Independent Games Festival & Summit every year at Game Developers Conference. The company (producer of the Game Developers Conference series, Gamasutra.com and Game Developer magazine) established the Independent Games Festival in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers.

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Archive For April, 2010

Indie Game Pick: Neo Aquarium (Nusso)

April 23, 2010 12:00 PM | Tim W.


Neo Aquarium (King of Crustacean) is a Virtual On-style versus combat game that features sea creatures fighting each other inside a closed underwater arena of death. The list of weapons at your disposal includes homing projectiles, melee attacks, grabs, short-range explosions, and even remote-controlled detachable limbs that can be commanded to fire at your enemies.

It's worth noting that some of the crustaceans have a slight advantage over the others, although the inclusion of a difficulty setting does balance the game a little bit. To start a battle after selecting your fighter, just swim through the large gate that leads to the combat arena right in front of you.

There are only five types of sea creatures to choose from in the latest playable build available for download, but more can be expected in the near future with at least three empty character slots to fill up with. P.P.A. also has a write-up on how the combat works and execution of attack moves over at his site. Get Neo Aquarium here. (Windows, 46.5MB)

Round-Up: Gamasutra Network Jobs, Week Of April 23

April 23, 2010 11:39 AM | Leigh Alexander

In our latest employment-specific round-up, we highlight some of the notable jobs posted in big sister site Gamasutra's industry-leading game jobs section this week, including positions from THQ, Bungie, and more.

Each position posted by employers will appear on the main Gamasutra job board, and appear in the site's daily and weekly newsletters, reaching our readers directly.

It will also be cross-posted for free across its network of submarket sites, which includes content sites focused on online worlds, cellphone games, 'serious games', independent games and more.

Some of the notable jobs posted this week include:

Insomniac Games: Cinematic Audio Specialist
"Insomniac Games is an independent videogame developer with award-winning hits for the PS, PS2 and PS3. We created the first three Spyro the Dragon games, and the Ratchet and Clank franchise. We are also the team behind Resistance: Fall of Man, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Resistance 2, and most recently - Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time! If that's not enough, we've also have been named one of the Best Small Companies to work for! Come check us out!"

Freeware Game Pick: Sumouse (Terry Cavanagh)

April 22, 2010 6:45 PM | Michael Rose

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Sumouse is a two-player fight-a-thon which may result in your computer being mouse-less. Both players control a small box on the screen via a single mouse.

Each player holds down a mouse button, then frantically attempts to move the box into one of the outer boxes of their respective colour. Your score decreases if it moves into your box, and the first player to reach zero wins. However, if you let go of your mouse button, your score will begin to shoot up again.

Simple, destructive fun - you might want to plug in an old mouse, though. Grab it from here.

Browser Game Pick: Enough Plumbers (Glen Forrester & Arthur Lee)

April 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Michael Rose

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Enough Plumbers is an expansion on Glen Forrester's original Enough Marios. The plumber's goal is to grab the flag on each of the 25 levels, but there's a twist - grabbing coins will create a Mario clone who then becomes user-controlled.

Initially the concept acts as a distraction, turning what is essentially simple platforming into a bit of a nightmare, with plumbers spawning and jumping all over the place. As long as one Mario reaches the flag, the level is complete.

Later on, the game becomes more puzzle-based. Plumbers need to be spawned and moved into certain positions, maybe to press a button at a particular moment, or to collectively weight down a pad. There's some seriously clever level design to be found in the later levels, so it's worth plugging your way through the more hectic first few.

Give it a try over at NotDoppler.

Browser Game Pick: Time Paradox (free-jap)

April 22, 2010 2:00 AM | Tim W.


Time Paradox is a clever puzzle game in which you have to use time machines to travel back in time and unlock the exit door that blocks your way out of each level. Your current self has only thirty seconds to act before time runs out, and once a time machine has been used it cannot be activated again until you lose a life.

To add to your problems you must not let your past self catch sight of your current or future selves, else the catastrophic event will trigger a time paradox that kills everyone in the room. The difficulty of the game is just right for players of all skill levels, and you can continue from the last room attempted by moving your character left when the main menu is shown. There are fifteen stages to play in total.

PAX East Music Q&A: Mattias Häggström Gerdt (BlindEdge)

April 22, 2010 1:00 AM | jeriaska

Swedish game composer Mattias Häggström Gerdt last year wrote the soundtrack to Xbox Indies, Dream-Build-Play finalist Kaleidoscope. The musician is currently working on two independent games: a follow-up title by the same developer and another offering for XBLIG called BlindEdge.

His arranged videogame music, appearing under the handle Another Soundscape, can be found on OverClocked ReMix where he serves as a submissions judge. The Another Soundscape website similarly offers his music for free download, including the previously released Artoon and The Perfect Match.

This discussion continues a short series of interviews conducted during PAX East with independent game composers participating in the IWADON: Hiroyuki Iwatsuki Tribute Album by videogame-inspired music hub Game Music 4 All.

How have you reacted to the online reception of Kaleidoscope, your first collaboration as part of Team Morsel?

Mattias Häggström Gerdt, composer: It’s been extraordinary. I’m floored by all the positive comments and to see it get a 7 out of 10 from Eurogamer. To get a good score from a major gaming website was definitely a highlight for me.

The Morsel development team includes a programmer, artist and musician. Are you finding that this is a good dynamic for independent game design?

Yeah, I’m very surprised how well it actually works for us three, even though we’re in different time zones. We get along very well and all of us are interested in the overall design.

In writing original game scores, do you deviate from your approach to working on OCR tracks?

Not in terms of workflow. The main difference, and also the biggest joy of working with independent games, is that you have a much clearer idea of the mood you're going for. For example, BlindEdge is very action-oriented. We wanted high tempo, intense drum and bass mixed with real instruments, both guitar and dulcimer. I can then keep that style for multiple tracks.

On OCR, it’s always more of an experiment to take the original song and see in what direction it takes you. Working with memorable melodies and getting an understanding of how they are built is definitely a way to learn about old school videogame music. I start by playing the melody on the keyboard and see what evolves. I never go into remixing with a fixed mindset. That's the main difference.

Are there independent game soundtracks that have appeared recently that have captured your interest?

I definitively love Tomas Dvorak’s Machinarium soundtrack. That’s a great example of capturing the look of the game. It’s similar to a fairytale, but somewhat distorted. Disasterpeace made a very memorable main theme for Rescue: The Beagles. The slow, developing motif is very well done.

TGS' Sense Of Wonder Night Seeking Indie Submissions, Adds Smartphone Category

April 21, 2010 6:16 PM | Simon Carless

Organizers for the third annual Sense of Wonder Night, a Tokyo Game Show event spotlighting innovative game concepts, put out a call to developers for submissions and revealed two additions for this year's fair: a smartphone category and a SOWN Pavilion.

Modeled after GDC's Experimental Gameplay Workshop, SOWN selects a group of indie developers from around the world to demonstrate and explain their unique video games and prototypes to a Tokyo Game Show audience for 10 minutes, with Japanese-English and English-Japanese translation. Game designers interested in participating in this year's around have until July 11th so submit their project.

To accommodate the growing popularity of indie titles developed for mobile platforms like iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone, organizers added a new category focused on smartphone games.

Also new this year is a SOWN Pavilion set up on the Tokyo Game Show expo floor during TGS's business days, where developers can present their games to other industry attendees, exchanging and sharing opinions/ideas for future projects.

Sister site GameSetWatch posted a comprehensive write-up of last year's SOWN, which featured titles like Echocrome creator Jun Fujiki's Incompatible Block, Enemy Airship's Shadow Physics, and many other experimental titles. You can watch the full set of presentation videos for SOWN 2009's games on YouTube.

The jury for this year's Sense Of Wonder Night, which takes place on the evening of September 17th, includes Katamari Damacy and Noby Noby Boy creator Keita Takahashi, Enterbrain's 'Maker' series director Kenji Sugiuchi, Gamasutra publisher/IGF Chairman Simon Carless, noted 'dojin' game creator Kenta Cho, Vector Inc.'s Takashi Katayama, IGDA Japan coordinator Kiyoshi Shin, and new juror, Zenner Works (Okage: Shadow King) CTO Onitama.

The creators of the selected games will receive free Tokyo Game Show 2010 Business Day entry passes (the major Japanese video game show's business-only days are September 16th-175th, with public days on September 18th-19th). You can find more information on the event and how you can submit your game at the English-language Sense Of Wonder Night web page.

Game Developer Research: Indie Earnings Doubled When Working On Team

April 21, 2010 3:12 PM | Simon Carless

[Obviously, it's quite difficult to work out how much independent game creators make - many do it just for fun. But Game Developer Research polled the indies who read Gamasutra and Game Developer magazine, and here's the results.]

Individual indie developers make considerably more money when they team up than when they work alone, according to new data from Game Developer Research's latest Salary Report, which breaks down game industry salary information by discipline and demographics.

Of the surveyed developers who called themselves indies, including PC, iPhone, and other small-production game creators, roughly an equal amount said they make games alone as said they make games as part of a team, according to this data.

However, the average reported income disparity between those groups is significant: indie developers working alone reported an average income of $11,638 in 2009, while indie developers working with teams reported average personal income for the year of $20,248 -- nearly twice as high.

That strong contrast may partially reflect the difficulties one-man teams may have in marketing and monetizing their games. And, of course, many individual developers see monetization as a bonus rather than a strict necessity, particularly when they have other non-game revenue sources.

Indies in both groups listed the development areas to which they contribute during development. Fully three quarters said they contribute to game design, while two thirds said they write code. Production, art creation, and quality assurance were each listed by half of indies, while only a quarter said they contribute to audio.

Indie Game Links: Put a Little Spring in Your Step

April 20, 2010 5:00 PM | Tim W.

Today's collection of independent game links includes some bargains for your consideration, a pair of puzzle game recommendations, and a couple of interviews with indie game developers whose names you might be familiar with. (image source)

Direct2Drive: Spring Sale
Indie games at 50 to 75% off the usual price. The Path, Eufloria and Aaaaa! are all at $4.95 each. Steam had also discounted Frozenbyte's Trine from $20 to $5, with the offer set to expire on April 26th.

PC Gamer Magazine: Captain Forever creator on his ever-changing shooter
"There are already two Captain Forever games, and developer Farbs' is continuing to develop them 'indefinitely'. Not forever, perhaps, but three games in, Farbs isn't nearly done. He wants to turn this simple shooter into a longer-term game 'with a scope similar to Elite'."

Play This Thing: Top Hero
"Top Hero is a small game -- just 8 levels, and likely less than an hour to complete them all. But it's an unusual one, and well conceived for what it is."

DIYgamer: Monday Freeplay - Talesworth Adventure: Quest for the Dragon's Hoard
"Talesworth Adventure: Quest for the Dragon's Hoard is inspired by 'old D&D graph paper maps and classic 8-bit games,' and the combination of the two impresses both graphically and gameplay-wise."

RPG Codex: Interview with Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games
"I have a few more games in the Blackwell series planned, which will take the story to a conclusion and hopefully answer everyone’s questions."

A Hardy Developer's Journal: Interview with mif2000
"Denis Galanin (mif2000) is a prolific independent game developer, cartoonist and animation artist. His current game is Hamlet, a take on that Shakespeare drama even non-readers have heard of."

Deep Silver: Making of The Whispered World (video)
A documentary about the making of The Whispered World, a 2D adventure game by Daedalic and Deep Silver. (source: The Slowdown)

Freeware Game Pick: Aftermath (Yrr)

April 19, 2010 3:00 PM | Tim W.


Aftermath is a 2D platformer created by newcomer Yrr, in which you're stranded on a crater with a broken missile that needs repair for it to fly again. Thus begins your adventure into the caverns, in search of coins and rocket parts to complete your escape plan.

The save game feature is rather erratic, and backtracking can be a real pain at times, but Aftermath proves to be a promising debut release from Yrr that is quite fun to play too. You can press the F4 function key to switch between windowed and full screen mode. Download the game here. (Windows, 1.35MB)

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